Pallid Harrier? Give me a singing Wood Warbler any day!

Well it is a little tongue in cheek. Last weekend's unexpected delight was a fantastic male Pallid Harrier which had taken up residence on the Bowland Fells where there should really have been a few Hen Harriers. Sadly none of the latter but the Pallid gave us some superb views and aerial displays together with several Ring Ouzels. It's really got to be one of the most exquisite visual spectacles I've seen in the avian world.

A run of very strong easterly winds for over a week now has halted a lot of migration though the onset did bring in a few Black Terns. Only now are we starting to see a few Swifts and House Martins in the village. There have been several good birds on the coast and so I paid Marshside a visit yesterday and jammed in on a very obliging Wood Sandpiper as well as a Ruddy Shelduck and a very orange-breasted Swallow.

These birds together with my first singing Reed Warblers of the year together with a singing Lesser Whitethroat and passage of a few Swifts kept me occupied for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the recent Spoonbills weren't playing ball and neither was a local Dotterel.

This-morning, Bernie and I headed to Moor Piece where a Wood Warbler had taken up residence. In the time-honoured fashion I wound my windows down and we could hear the sweet trilling before we'd slowed to pull in to the lay-by. It's got to be one of may favourite songs if not the favourite. (Woodlark a close second though I don't hear either of them all that regularly!)
Moor Piece Wood Warbler habitat
There was a wonderful selection of song to compliment the Wood Warbler - Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Pied Flycatchers all singing away. Siskins and a lone Redpoll called over head too. Blackcaps were very much in evidence. Indeed, last week there were lots a Brockholes Quarry joined by the first arrivals of Garden Warblers providing those who like a challenge the opportunity to distinguish them.
Male Blackcap from the garden
Pine Beauty

Goldenrod Pug
The cold winds have really put paid to much mothing so far this year. Easterlies also hampered ringing activities but I've managed to ring and control several Redpolls. Birds initially ringed in Kent, the Midlands and Greater Manchester have ended up in my garden and a Siskin I ringed last year was taken by a cat in Highland - I hate cats! I've also had lots of returning birds so it's nice to know I'm on the map as far as Redpolls are concerned.